Think of this like all the potential NFL draft picks who skipped their bowl games as a health precaution.
The G-League Ignite are shutting down presumptive No. 2 pick Scoot Henderson for the rest of the season, reports Jonathan Givony of ESPN.
Scoot Henderson, projected No. 2 pick in the 2023 NBA draft, has been shut down by the G League for the remainder of Ignite's season, a league official told ESPN. Ignite is unlikely to make the playoffs and the G League feels Henderson has shown enough this season.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) March 14, 2023
“I’m just ready. I’m trying to prepare myself for the next level,” Henderson told NBC Sports during All-Star Weekend. “I feel right there.”
With the Ignite at 11-16 and on the outside looking in at the G-League playoffs, the risk was not worth the reward for Henderson. He came into the season as the projected No. 2 pick and went on to cement that standing averaging 16.5 points and 6.8 assists a game through the Ignite’s regular season (after returning from a nasal fracture and concussion). In the G-League Showcase he averaged 21.2 points and 5.8 assists a game.
Henderson stumbled a little the second half of the G-League season, and with Alabama’s Brandon Miller playing well as his team heads into the tournament, some teams are rethinking the possible selection at No. 2, Givony said.
Henderson is an elite athlete at the point who draws comparisons to the young versions of Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose. He explodes to the rim, has a diverse scoring package, and shows a natural feel for the game. He needs polish — he shot 27.5% from 3 in the G-League season — but he has a maturity about him and a sense he knows what he has to do.
“I think it just being consistent with my shot making and just being consistent as a talker, as a communicator on the floor and as a leader,” Henderson said of what he is working on heading into the draft. “I think that those are big things.”
This is the smart play by Henderson and the G-League. There is nothing he can do to pass Victor Wembanyama for the top spot in next June’s draft, and an injury or something else unexpected could drop him down—time to reduce the risk of that unexpected thing.